wedding

All About Wedding Cakes

Today’s blog topic is CAKE! There’s no denying that my love of cake comes from my mom, who spent years making wedding cakes in Charlottesville, Virginia. Am I biased about her making the best cakes? Maybe, but there’s no denying how good they are and how much she knows about them. My mom, Maureen, is answering some of the questions you might have about looking for a wedding cake.

My mom made my perfect 7th birthday cake from strawberry cake mix and a cake pan shaped like Ariel. Since my birthday is close to Christmas, there was one year when she made little gingerbread houses for my friends and me to decorate at my birthday party. As the years went by, she began to pursue baking professionally, working for people who trained at some of the best culinary programs in the world and making cakes completely from scratch with the best quality ingredients. Many years after making my Ariel cake, she made a Little Mermaid-inspired wedding cake with a cascade of handmade fondant seashells. She went from working all day on gingerbread houses for my birthday party to spending weeks helping make a huge, award-winning gingerbread house. She is a certified chocolatier and her work was featured in Martha Stewart Weddings. We hope this helps you with your cake decisions for your wedding day!

Little Mermaid cake, 2000

Little Mermaid cake, 2000

Little Mermaid cake, 2014

Little Mermaid cake, 2014

What’s your favorite thing about cakes?

My favorite thing about cakes is unlimited flavor combinations and design ideas! It's a privilege to be a part of one of the most exciting days of their life. It's a thrill to work alongside other talented vendors. Delivering a cake is exciting because when I arrive, other exciting things are always happening too. The florist is working their magic, the tables are getting set, the DJ or band is setting up, the smell of the food is in the air...it's just a fun and happy time! You can feel the excitement.

How did you get into doing cakes?

Since I was a little girl, I've always had a love of sweets and baking. 

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What’s one thing you think everyone should know when they start thinking about their wedding cake?

I believe a wedding cake should be about the couple's taste and personality. I always suggest they not copy a cake they've seen somewhere else. Use it as an inspiration to come up with something personal to them.

What are some ways a couple can save money on a wedding cake?

The more handmade decorations that are put on a cake, the more the cake will cost. Handmade flowers are very time consuming. A cake frosted with buttercream is less expensive than fondant. A cake done with buttercream can have an smooth finish and fresh flowers and still be quite elegant and more budget friendly. 

Can having different cake and filling flavors add to the cost?

Yes. First, it adds to the cost of the ingredients. Second, it takes more time to scale out three different cake flavors than it does to scale out one flavor in a much larger  quantity. An entire wedding cake of a single flavor can be baked at one time at the same temperature. Different kinds of cake or different flavors may bake at different temperatures or have a different method. This can add quite a bit of time to bake all of the cakes.  Making separate fillings such as curds, ganache, jams, and flavored buttercreams are all delicious, but add to the cost as well.

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What should couples consider if they’re having an outdoor wedding?

The type of cake, filling, buttercream, and decorations would have to be taken into consideration for a summer wedding. I would want to make a buttercream cake that is refrigerated as long as possible and delivered to the venue as late as possible. Naked cakes may be a better choice on a hot day and decorated with fresh berries or flowers. Sometimes an option other than a cake is more practical, like pies, cookies, or a dessert bar. Wedding cakes can be kept indoors until it’s time to cut the cake, but it’s always best if the cake stays in one place.

What are some alternatives to wedding cakes? 

I've seen couples who actually do not like cake at all. They've chosen to have pies or a dessert bar.

What’s the biggest misconception about wedding cakes? 

The biggest misconception about wedding cakes is that they have to be a white cake with vanilla buttercream. While that is traditional, most people pick creative flavors and have multiple tiers with different flavors.

What are some unique cake flavors you’ve made?

Cake flavors can be inspired from everywhere! Ice cream flavors, cocktails, childhood desserts that grandma used to make...I’ve done red velvet with strawberry and lavender, an Earl Grey tea chocolate cake, and bananas foster with bananas, vanilla, rum, and caramel. Kathryn (Christine’s sister/Maureen’s daughter) had a whole bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon in her 21st birthday cake.

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What makes cake artists different from each other?

Our couples make us different from each other! When trying to make a cake unique to each couple, we discover new techniques and flavors inspired by them. Some bakers are known for their use of color, painting or airbrushing. Some bakers are known by their creative flavor combinations or sculpted cakes.

What are some trends you see with cakes and what's more classic?

A three tiered round cake is classic although it can be personalized with color, flavors and decorations. Wedding cupcakes have become very popular but still not as popular as the single wedding cake. Naked cakes and tall cakes are the newer trends I've seen.

Where can people learn more about wedding cakes?

I encourage couples to look at as many pictures of cakes as they can from Instagram or Facebook or just by Google. They will start to see a trend in the style that they like that will inspire their own cake unique to them. 

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Lake Keowee Wedding | Erika and Jameson

Erika and Jameson had an intimate wedding celebration with gorgeous views of Lake Keowee and the mountains behind them.  We started with some portraits beforehand along the water at the Lighthouse Restaurant (a beautiful restaurant where Dan and I had our rehearsal dinner) before the dark clouds rolled in.  We quickly headed to the park, and when there was a little break in the rain, they walked out to the lake for their ceremony.  Afterwards, they cut the wedding cake that Erika’s aunt made for them, picked out koozies, and played cornhole with Clemson boards and beanbags.

I loved how Erika and Jameson valued having their families come together on this day.  When I first met Erika, I could see how much she loved Jameson’s son, Brantley.  He was in almost as many pictures as the bride and groom.  He walked down the aisle with Erika and stood with them during the whole ceremony.  When Erika and Jameson said their vows, Erika made a vow to Brantley as well.   I loved having this sweet boy in some of their wedding portraits and getting his seal of approval on the others!

Check out some of my favorite photos we got right before the storm came through!

Revel Wedding | Tori and Michael

Just like their engagement session in July, Tori and Michael’s wedding day was the perfect temperature with no clouds in the sky.  Their families and friends gathered at Revel on a Monday afternoon in April to see them become husband and wife. 

I knew when I first met with Tori and Michael that some of the details of their wedding would be a little different from what I’ve seen before, and all the details were so unique and well-coordinated when I saw them in person. They had a yellow and gray color scheme; the bridesmaids wore gray maxi skirts and the groomsmen wore yellow suspenders and bow ties, all with black Converses.  Tori’s long-sleeved lace and tulle gown was straight out of a fairy tale wedding, with a cotton crown she made herself and yellow Converses to match Michael’s—the same ones they wore with their black and white outfits at their engagement session. Instead of bouquets, Tori and her bridesmaids carried lanterns with cotton and string lights inside.  The tables had cotton centerpieces and their favorite yellow candies.  For the reception, they picked out breakfast food, because “who doesn’t love breakfast food?”  As a couple who met during Governor’s School and graduated from Clemson, they had all of their rings present for their detail shots.  Their “guest log” was cut from an actual log where all their guests could sign.

You could see that Tori and Michael were so happy for this day to finally be here.  They were so smiley for their portraits, which makes it easy for me!  It’s been so much fun to be part of their engagement and their wedding day over the past year or so. 

 

Venue: Revel

Photographer: Christine Scott Photography

Dress: Carolina Bride and Groom (sleeves added by The Perfect Fit)

Caterer: Chef 360

Everything else was made possible by family and friends.

Bleckley Inn Wedding | Katrina and McKenzie

The one snow day we had in Greenville all winter just so happened to land on the day McKenzie wanted to propose to Katrina.  The exciting night out he’d planned for the proposal quickly turned into a night in, so he had to think of a new plan quickly.  He put on “Millionaire” by Chris Stapleton and asked Katrina for a slow dance in the living room.  When the song finished, he told her that it was a good time to celebrate.  When Katrina asked what they were celebrating, McKenzie said, “our engagement,” and got down on one knee with this gorgeous vintage-looking engagement ring. 

Katrina and McKenzie’s intimate wedding was on a perfect April day at the Bleckley Inn in Anderson.  They made each other laugh during the ceremony and they had me laughing so much during their bride and groom portraits!  We took some photos out in the courtyard and some others in this little alleyway with flowers and string lights.  Katrina wore a gown with lace sleeves and an off-the-shoulder V-neckline, like a gown out of a 50s movie.  She also had these princess-looking shoes and the garter her mother wore on her own wedding day.  Many of the items they used were handmade, including their engraved tree-like ring box, McKenzie’s feather bow tie, and the succulent décor at the reception.  Katrina and her mom made and designed the decor themselves and set it up with the help of some of their family and friends. All three of their rings are so unique—McKenzie’s wedding band is made from meteorite! 

Thank you Katrina and McKenzie for letting me be part of this beautiful day!

 

Venue: The Bleckley Inn

Dress, Veil, and Shoes: David’s Bridal

Florals: Wedding Flowers for Rent

Catering: The Bleckley Inn

Officiant: Upstate Wedding Officiant

Decor: designed and created by Katrina and her mother

Invitations: Shutterfly

Cake: Publix Bakery

Arbor and Curtains: Event Rentals

Topper: Adore Your Door Decor

Wedding Favors: Classic Cactus

Succulents: Succulent Cuttings 4 U

Acrylic signs: Sweet NC Collective

Welcome sign: Timeless Accessory Inc

Suspenders: Dochriste

Bowties: Glamour Wedding Shop

Event Rentals: Arbor & Arbor Curtains

Ring Box: Trees 2 Art

Kimpton Brice Wedding, Savannah, Georgia | Amethyst and Matt

Remember Amethyst and Matt, who had their engagement session in Disney World this past April?   They celebrated their happily ever after on a warm and sunny December day in Savannah, Georgia! 

My day started with a Forrest Gump impersonator chatting with me at breakfast and telling me to congratulate the couple for him, which I think is pretty cool.  The day ended with a sparkler exit along the street with trolley passengers cheering and passing cars honking.  Before the ceremony, I took pictures with Amethyst, her family, and her bridesmaids with ivy and palmetto trees. My second shooter, Shain, took Matt, his family, and the groomsmen to the nearby square with lots of giant oak trees and Spanish moss.  The ceremony took place in the courtyard of the Kimpton Brice Hotel, which faces the Savannah River.

Although this was not a Disney-themed wedding, there had to be Disney references throughout the day, since that’s where Amethyst and Matt met and began their adventures as a couple.  Not only were there some Disney songs carefully placed throughout the day (I especially loved the songs from The Goofy Movie as the wedding party entered the reception), each entrance into the reception space had a Disney quote about love on it.  Like any Disney princess, Amethyst wore a tiara.  Since Beauty and the Beast is one of Amethyst’s favorite Disney movies, Matt had notes and roses given to her throughout the day.  As we took their photos in the square after the ceremony, Matt gave her one more note and a rose.  I only know that part of that note said “I’ll love you until the last petal falls” because Matt pointed out that this rose was artificial, so no petals would fall.

When you’ve spent years working at “the happiest place on earth,” where do you go for your first adventure as a married couple?  Well, “the happiest place on earth” actually refers to several places in different parts of the world, so I’ll just leave it at that.

Here are a few of my favorites from this beautiful wedding day!

Venue: The Kimpton Brice

Videography: Palmetto Digital

DJ: Jus Music

Florals: the couple and their families

The Pines at Sheltowee Wedding: Samantha and Tim

Samantha and Tim's wedding was one of those days that you'd picture if you imagined a peaceful summer wedding in the south.  They were married at the Pines at Sheltowee, under the shade of the trees with the Appalachian mountains of eastern Kentucky right behind them.  

The barn was elegantly rustic on the inside with big windows everywhere to let in plenty of natural light for Samantha's bridal portraits.  Her gown had a beautiful lacy train and she carried a bouquet in a pastel pink and blue palette, while her bridesmaids carried baby's breath.  The reception hall, where Samantha's family served food they made themselves, was decorated with hints of blush.  The clouds rolled in during the wedding ceremony, keeping the sun off of everyone on this 90-degree day.  The rain held off until after the ceremony and it only began sprinkling towards the very end of the bridal party photos.  Luckily, the sun was back out during the golden hour, and you know how I love the way golden hour sun lights up hair like Samantha’s.

Their dog, Tux, walked down the aisle with Tim’s parents and sat quietly for the ceremony and some pictures.  Since Tim is a herpetologist (someone who studies reptiles), his brother and best man mentioned during his speech that he was only allowed to have one room in the new house for critters.  It only made sense for their getaway car to have drawings of some of the many animals he’s worked with. 

I had always imagined that Kentucky would kind of look like West Virginia, where I first started to be conscious of taking “good” pictures of the mountains that would show people who weren’t there exactly how beautiful something could be.  After many years of learning to take better pictures, combining a backdrop like that with the joy of a wedding makes me so happy.  Samantha and Tim’s wedding perfectly combined those two and more.  Here are some of my favorites from this gorgeous Kentucky day!

Venue:  The Pines at Sheltowee

Photographer:  Christine Scott Photography

Dress:  Bridal and Formal, Inc.

Florist:  The Master’s Bouquet

Cake: Root-A-Bakers

Music: Jessika Brust

Tuxes (not including the dog): Men’s Wearhouse

Diana and Andrew's Wedding: Fort Mill and Charlotte

On Thursday, Diana became an alumna of Clemson’s engineering school. On Saturday, she became Andrew’s wife. I did this Clemson couple’s engagement photos on a cold January day in Clemson.  Here are their wedding pictures from a 90-something degree clear day in May!

The wedding ceremony took place in the Fort Mill church Diana grew up in and a priest from Andrew’s church delivered the sermon. Diana wore the same veil that her mother and her mother’s sisters all wore on their wedding days, except Diana added a pretty gold headband to it. And how beautiful are these rings? Diana’s yellow-gold rings look so pretty together!  Diana’s favorite color is gray, so her bridesmaids wore gray, but most of Diana’s accessories were gold and there were hints of blue in their bouquets, with Diana’s rosary wrapped around the bridal bouquet. 

After the ceremony, we found a shaded area by a pond near the church for bride and groom portraits, then crossed the border of the Carolinas to Diana’s aunt’s house in Charlotte for the reception.  Diana and Andrew love the movie Up, so “adventure” was a common theme throughout the reception.  They had a few single-tier cakes from All In, a coffee shop in Clemson where everything tastes amazing, including their cakes.  After a night of line dancing and partner dancing in the backyard, Diana and Andrew walked through a tunnel of their family and friends blowing bubbles that came from champagne bottle-shaped bubble containers, which I thought was adorable, before heading to Asheville for their first adventure as husband and wife. 

Enjoy the photos of this beautiful celebration of love between two sweet people!

Ceremony venue:  St. Phillip Neri Catholic Church, Fort Mill, SC

Reception Venue: Private residence, Charlotte, NC

Photographer: Christine Scott Photography

Florist:  Fresh Blossom

Catering: Famous Toastery of Dilworth